In Texas, facing criminal charges of any kind can be overwhelming and stressful. Suddenly, your future and your freedom become uncertain, and you wonder how this incident will impact the course of your life. If law enforcement has arrested you for a theft offense, you may hear the term “unlawful appropriation” and wonder what this means. Here’s a brief overview of unlawful appropriation and theft offenses in Texas and what steps you should take to protect your rights and your freedom.
Legal Definition of Theft in Texas
There are many different types of theft offenses in Texas. Title 7, Section 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code states, “A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.” The statute goes on to define unlawful appropriation as occurring when “(1) it is without the owner’s effective consent; (2) the property is stolen and the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another; or (3) property in the custody of any law enforcement agency was explicitly represented by any law enforcement agent to the actor as being stolen and the actor appropriates the property believing it was stolen by another.” Basically, if you take property from someone without their effective consent, you could face theft charges.
Understanding Unlawful Appropriation
Lawful appropriation occurs when you purchase an item from a store, finalizing the transfer of ownership by paying for the property. However, there are some instances when appropriation is considered unlawful. When you take someone else’s property through coercion or deception, the owner cannot give their effective consent—this makes the transaction an example of unlawful appropriation. Any time the owner cannot provide effective consent, whether because of mental incapacitation, old age, coercion, deception, or other factors, appropriation of property may be considered unlawful.
Discuss Your Situation With a Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer
If law enforcement has arrested you for a theft offense in the Pearland or the Houston area, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Your attorney will examine the details of your case and determine the best course of action. Together, you can work to defend your rights and develop a strong legal strategy to secure the best possible outcome, given the specifics of the case.
If you are facing theft charges in Pearland, Brazoria County, or the Houston area, call the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC, today at (832) 230-0075 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled criminal defense attorney.